5 Best Practices of Online Survey Design


Posted on 23 June 2020 Catherine Chipeta


Designing an effective survey is the key to gaining quality data. No matter how clear your research questions and objectives are, sub-par survey design will be reflected in the results.

With online surveys rapidly becoming a popular research method, it is more important than ever to ensure each element of their design is up to scratch, from finding the right respondents to writing good questions. By taking the time to optimise each design element, you can expect better responses and more meaningful insights. This article explores our 5 best practices for online survey design to consider for your next study.

Best practises of online surveys

Keep length of the survey short

Less is more when it comes to survey questions. This allows respondents to focus properly on the survey and lowers the chance of fatigue, which lessens result quality. We recommended writing between 10 to 14 questions with a maximum survey length of 15 minutes. Consider creating several short surveys to get quick feedback on a variety of research topics with optimal results.

Speak the right language

Respondents need to properly understand what you are asking to provide the most accurate answers. Keep questions to the point and ensure that options cover all possible responses. If your survey will be available in several languages, check that translations are correct and retain the meaning of the original language. Well-written survey questions will help improve response rates and increase response quality.

Provide variety in question types

Including a range of different questions keeps respondents interested and engaged with your survey, which increases completion rates. Multiple choice, rating scales, and click-to-answer options makes it easier for respondents to identify the appropriate answer and shortens survey length. Whilst open-ended questions are an ideal way to gather detailed feedback, they should be kept to a minimum to avoid respondent fatigue.

Pre-screen participants

Sourcing the right participants for your survey streamlines the data collection process and heightens the chance of quality responses.

Using online panels is the most effective way of finding appropriate respondents for your surveys and eliminates the need to include pre-screening questions, which can feel repetitive and off-putting for potential respondents.

Use mobile friendly surveys

With most online surveys being completed on mobile phones, you must ensure your survey flow operates efficiently on both desktop and mobile. You can keep up-to-date on any mobile issues which require tweaking by regularly testing survey loading times, mobile display, and ease of use. Choosing a survey platform that offers a mobile-friendly interface increases user experience, improves response rates, which ultimately draws better quality results.

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